Brighton’s trolleybus era was short but memorable

Like so many of the UK’s trolleybus systems, Brighton’s had a short life. The decision to close it came only 17 years after the first lines opened and five years after the last new trolleys arrived. Diesel double-deckers replaced the last of them within five years of that fateful vote.

Title: Around Brighton by Trolleybus Part 1

Author: Mervyn Stedman

Publisher: Adam Gordon

ISBN: 978-1-910654-30-9

Speclcation: 300mm x 215mm, 162pp, hardback

Price: £45

This picture from the book, taken by Malcolm Keeping, shows one of Brighton Corporation’s 1939 AEC trolleybuses passing beneath complex overhead as it climbs a snow-covered Carden Hill through the Hollingbury estate on a section of route opened in 1949.

None of that can detract from the fondness that many enthusiasts — Mervyn Stedman among them — developed for these electric vehicles, or from the memories they cherish today of them accelerating powerfully, yet quietly up the many hills of what then was a town and today is a city. While the energy that powered them was generated in a coalfired power station that doubtless created its own emission problem, in Stedman’s words the impression at the point of delivery was of buses that were clean and odourless.

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